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How to make friends...

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Old 08-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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I have a problem making friends. When I was younger I made friends no problem, even in my teen years it wasn't much of an issue, but now that I'm nearing 30 I'm finding it so incredibly difficult to make new friends. I do make a few efforts, but it's not like when you're a kid and your parents throw you together with other kids and you make friends automatically. It's not even like high school where you make friends with the other kids in your class or at your job or whatever... And almost none of those friendships I had lasted so now I'm without friends. I have acquaintances, but no real friends (except family, but I'm not counting them). I have ample opportunities to make new friends, but seem incapable of taking advantage of said opportunities.

The problems I can see for myself in this situation are threefold. One would be my social anxieties, I do have issues in crowds but even bigger is my issue of talking on the phone. I have outright panic attacks if I have to talk to anyone but my husband on the phone. Any silence seems awkward to me and I start getting sweaty and nervous and shaky (this even happens with debt collectors or trying to make doctor's appointments or something). This prevents me from calling up a friend to talk or make plans. I've tried just biting the bullet and doing it anyway, but I always end the call feeling like a complete horses @$$ even if I wasn't and then avoid the person because I'm sure they think I'm weird. I'm guessing this makes it seem like I don't want to be friends and am being standoffish...
The next problem is I can't seem to stop "one upping" people or comparing stories. I always have a response to whatever someone is saying and that response is almost always about me or my family or my experiences. And the worst part is I KNOW I'm doing it, and I just can't make my mouth stop. I've found that once I open my mouth and start talking people tend to back off and find other people to mingle with.
The other problem is that I think I just don't know what goes into an adult friendship. I've never really had one! What do adults do together? What types of activities are the norm? How do you bring spouses into the equation, or do you? etc.

What brought this on is yesterday I went to my oldest daughter's open house for preschool. Plenty of opportunity to talk to other adults with an assurance that we have something in common already (our preschool aged children). I even had a conversation with one woman who's daughter is my daughter's age. But I had no idea how to spin that into the beginning of a friendship! I also belong to a mommy and me group and I go to functions and talk to the other moms, but they all get together outside of the group and do stuff and I'm not included since I'm not really "friends" with any of them... It's not hurtful and I know they're not purposefully excluding me, but sometimes I think it would be nice to be "in" enough to get an invite.

I guess the point of this rant/whine/vent/whatever is to ask if anyone can help? Suggestions, ideas, commiseration, anything! lol I don't want to end up with no one but my husband to talk to and nothing to do but take care of the house and kids (not that I mind my husband or my housework, and I love my kids, but I'd like to have the option of something else to do once in a while!).
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:49 PM   #2
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I think you will have to bite the bullet and reach out to those other pre-school moms. If they are not inviting you, how about inviting them back to your place for coffee, or out for coffee, or asking if you can tag along with them sometime if they are discussing something in your presence?

Once you initiate the friendship you can mention that you hate talking on the phone...exchange cell #'s or emails and ask if you can text them next time. I hate the phone too...no particular anxieties about it, I just prefer to avoid it and most times I don't answer it.

Also, I hate that relating your experiences in response to someone else's is considered one-upping, mostly because I do this too. I'm sure you're not doing it to one up them, but to show that you can relate to what they are saying. If you think it's excessive try to make yourself ask the other person 2 questions about what they've said before you share your own story...that will show them that you are interested and curious about them, not just eager to spill your own tale.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:06 PM   #3
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When I was younger, my mom always invited the other moms along with their kids to birthday parties or other events so that she could get to know the moms. You could also see who your daughter becomes friends with at preschool and then invite that child (and the mom) over for a play date to get some one on one time in.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:52 PM   #4
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Start small , eye contact a smile can be contagious like laughter. You can try it on in a mall , saying Hi nothing fancy just a Hello , Nice day . Comment on someones outfit if you think it looks nice , Nice dress /hat/shirt as you see them.
Emails are a norm now , there are companies that have it on the answering service and admit for faster service check out or website or email .
just like texting it is accepted/tolerated by some.
i personally see it as an anti-social (lacks consideration for others and that may cause damage to society) because of the rudeness.
Don't worry about you " One-upping" that is usually a narcissistic /competition thing. if Someone thinks they are better than someone and has to put them down . Kids do it all the time (it is natural ) ie ... oh yeah well my car can do this , {boy 1} my cars shoots flames ,{boy 2} my car shoots flames and rockets. In adults it is usually in complaining /whining to get attention , or to put someone down (jealousy / anger).
The one - upping in this situation is just trying to get into the conversation not trying to better them. Angie has good advice.
You can also ask the teacher if you can have a get to know you function at the school for the kids , or if you could make cupcakes , or do a "juicebox" mixer after school one day and ask the moms to come along.
If you can see if they have a P.arent T.eacher A.ssociation you can get involved with. Boy/Girl Scouts. After school sports programs etc.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #5
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Forgot to mention Einstein and Lucille ball were both shy.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:15 PM   #6
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I have a friend who is a lot like you. I love her to death. She is the sweetest person ever but she has a lot of insecurities.

First, you need to stop caring what people think of you. You are you. Someone is going to be friends with you because they like YOU.

Second, you probably aren't "one-upping". But I bet what you are doing is rambling. Do not make a short story long.

Third, when you start talking to someone, find out if you have anything in common. Once, you find something, build on that. Say that both your kids are picky eaters. Ask how they handle it. Ask how the child does in restaurant situations. Make a comment on how you handle your child's food aversions. But don't ramble. If they are interested, they will ask you another question.

I make friends where ever I go. My husband said that I could make friends with a brickwall if I wanted to. All you have to do is not care so much about what people think of you. And act interested in other people's interests. People love talking about themselves!
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:03 PM   #7
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I have to say, I saw your post and I totally relate to it. The only difference with me is that I work full time and everyone I know is a SAHM.
I would love a few close girlfriends to get together every once in a while and go for dinner or something. Also maybe to have a daily chat either on the phone or texting...
Looking for friends with more down to earth values, I dont want it to be a competition... just girls hanging out

Is that too much to ask these days??
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:45 PM   #8
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*raises her hand with a sigh*

I'm so that chick. I just don't do well with making friends.

I don't have a way to easily reach out to others, either. I've been in my town for three years and don't know a single person. *shakes her head sadly* I'm being literal. I don't even get a friendly nod from a store I frequent or anything.

I've tried looking through those sites like meetup.com or whatnot that are for people with similar interests, but that only convinced me that I don't belong in any group! Maybe I should look again, though...

I don't even think I'm that shy. Just awkward. I can have a wonderful conversation with a stranger, but connecting on more than that is quite difficult.

What I wouldn't give to live near a couple of harmless weirdos.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:03 PM   #9
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I have a really hard time making friends as well. My problem is deeply rooted in my insecurities. For example, when I was in grade school most kids didn't want to be my friend because I was the chubby kid, or I didn't wear Abercrombie, or whatever unknown reason, and I have carried this into my adult life. I automatically think EVERY person I meet hates me or just simply doesn't want to be my friend. I've started to realize, though, that this is all in my head and due to me thinking they don't want to be my friend, I act in a way that puts people off. Luckily my fiance could "make friends with a brick wall" (to use the language of an above poster) and he is trying to break me out of my insecurities as well. He always reassures me that people love me and that what I assume is usually wrong. I just need to stop relying on him and go out and make some of my own friends! It's a process and it is very difficult, but I'm working on it. I just started my 2nd year of Law School and I need to break my insecurities in all realms of my life pretty quickly if I want to excel in my future career as an attorney.

The best advice I can give is just be yourself and try not to think too much about what other people are thinking about you. People are going to like you for who you are and there is no reason to wall yourself in with insecurities. However, you can't change overnight, so make sure to give yourself time and never give up on yourself.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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Wow I read your post and. Boy does it hit home... I have 0 friends other than family.... I had 1 we were friends in highschool and then I ran into her in the store about a yeafr ago. I dumped her about a month ago. She was a terrible mom and I couldn't deal with it anymore. I was settling cause I was lonely..
I have vision problems and my eye doesn't move right so I have trouble with making eye contact. People think its rude... and I am super self conciouse about my looks...
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:54 AM   #11
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Wow, you sound so much like me ... well, except that I have no children and I'm umemployed (I'm almost 25 and am just now learning how to drive. I got late start on everything except marriage. lol). I'm socially awkward. I have a hard time making eye contact, and although I think of myself as somewhat intelligent with words, I sound pretty stupid in front of people. I just get so nervous that I'll sometimes stammer and mumble and say things that sound really, really stupid. I have a lot of insecurities, but if someone gives me a chance, and I start to feel more comfortable I can warm up quickly, but I tend to prattle on and on once I do. lol.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #12
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I definitely have the same problem, although for me, I get complacent with being alone. I was an only child and learned very early to entertain myself and sit quietly and behave.

Keep in mind that people have all sorts of ways relating to people. It doesn't sound like you're "one upping" people, just trying to relate to them and add to the conversation. I have the thing where I just fire off a zillion questions, which I KNOW makes people uncomfortable, like I'm studying them or something and they're being interrogated. Really, I'm just trying to learn about them- and I do that particularly with people who are also awkward or I can't think of anything to say to, so it just makes it worse! I know how it feels to know you're doing something socially and NOT be able to stop it. Oh boy.

See, if your definition of one-upping is accurate, then all of us responding to your post are trying to one-up you! Instead of feeling one-upped, you hopefully feel like people are relating to you and you're not alone.

Something that helps me is NOT overthinking a social situation. Just jump in and do it. I'm always going to be quiet by nature, I'm not the life of the party, but that doesn't mean I can't be social. Same goes for you! Bite the bullet once and it'll be easier next time.
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Old 09-01-2011, 10:26 PM   #13
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Wow, I logged on in order to post the same subject and here is your post! Crazy coincidence!

I am the same. I am SAHM and find it so hard to find friends either moms my age or someone who lives in the area. I always assume that people don't want to talk to me, before I even begin to talk. I don't know why. Also, many people have nannies around my neighborhood and they have their own nanny club.

I always wonder, these people that have many friends, are they childhood friends? Highschool? Neighbors?
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loli View Post
And act interested in other people's interests. People love talking about themselves!

It worked!!! It worked!!! It worked!!!


My husband and I went out with his friend and friend's friends yesterday. I normally clam up and don't talk much which makes me look very stuck up. When I try too hard, I end up talking too much, which is mostly about myself. This time I kept asking them about their interests and lives.. And I could tell that the feedback I got was much more positive. We have been invited again to their regular once-a-week dinner get-together now
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Old 09-03-2011, 03:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angie View Post
If you think it's excessive try to make yourself ask the other person 2 questions about what they've said before you share your own story...that will show them that you are interested and curious about them, not just eager to spill your own tale.
I love this idea! It's a good reminder for me because I know I start to ramble when I'm nervous.


I want to recommend the website Meetup.com because the whole goal of the site is finding people to do things with. You could check it out and see if there are any "meet-ups" near you. * I found a knitting group on the site.

Secondly, volunteering is a great way to meet people. You will have a task to do that will help others but also give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside and you also get to share this feeling with those around you. It's a great way to bond with people over shared acts of kindness.
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